My 7 pound Ultralight Thru-Hiking Gear List: and what I think about it

Second to last day on trail, in Washington

It’s March in New Zealand. It’s only just turned from summer to fall right now, but the rain is falling outside, dripping from the roof onto the pavement. Big plump drops hitting the warm concrete. It’s muggy, the windows are wide open and cars are hurtling down the street.

I realised again tonight, all over again, as I do when my eyes mist over and my mind drifts back to those glorious days on trail, that I’m hiking the Pacific Crest Trail again in just over two months. And to me the idea that i’m going back to trail is almost too sweet to bear.

I feel its call again. The call of the long dusty path that winds through a sort of saccharine parallel world, the silent magnetic pull of the kind of life I can live there. It’s luring me just like it did the first time. So, it seems, once again I must answer its call.

But before I leave my current life behind again, I know this time I want to somehow capture my experience from start to finish and everything that comes after. It’s true that the memories of my thru hike in 2016 still live in vivid detail in my mind, but the edges are becoming a little more fuzzy as time passes. This blog has been created to capture all those big and small moments that I don’t ever want to forget and to be a a resource for those also looking to set out on their own journey.

So lets start this thing off right and in the best way I know how.

Getting nerdy about gear for your benefit (and maybe mine too).

Thoughts on Gear:

If you want the TL:DR version of my packing list: You can find my Lighterpack here

My first day on trail – check out the sit pad.

Before I started in 2016, I trawled every blog, every forum, every helpful (and unhelpful) piece of outdated advice from every type of hiker you could ever hope to meet. Trust me, I read it all. To take in the extent of my obsession, imagine a frazzled woman, sitting in the dark, looking disheveled and surrounded by empty mugs in the deep hour of the night. The house is creaking in the wind and a great storm approaches at the same hour each night in the form of Google / Whiteblaze / Backpacking Light / and godawful thru-hiking Facebook groups. I have 40 tabs open at once (yes I am THAT person) and I’m fretting about ounces in the glow of the monitor. I’m attempting to make just one damn decision, but I just can’t. Got that in your mind? – good!

Now that I am older and wiser (ha) than my former self I can go into this experience with confidence instead of fear and with knowledge instead of just romanticized / scary / over analysed ideas of what my hike might be like. I imagined the trail as a big scary world of things that would try and kill me and hurdles that would ultimately stop me. I hoped I would make it to Canada, but I don’t think I believed I actually could. So I packed my fears with me. I packed items to try and compensate for the fact I didn’t trust my abilities.

So i’m telling you what I wish someone told me. You don’t have to be an experienced athletic hiker to get started with ultralight gear. Don’t be afraid to order a single wall tent / or to try a frameless backpack / or see if you like going without a stove.  As humans we adapt and we adapt quickly, the trail is no different, even for beginners to thru hiking. Just take everything you need to keep yourself safe, fed, warm, hydrated and dry and little else. You don’t have to have patterned gaiters or back-flushing abilities for your filter, or a knife, or a stove or even rain pants if you don’t want to carry them. It really is your choice.

Base weights and why I choose to hike Ultralight:

A persons base weight is defined by the weight of your pack minus food, water and the set of clothes you wear. Most define an ultralight base weight as sub 10lbs.

My base weight sits in the ultralight region at 7lbs. I think I am in the sweet spot between safety, comfort and being lightweight. I credit my low pack weight with my lack of long-term injuries and ability to cover more miles throughout the day. I like to wake up and pack up before the sun appears, walk as it rises, then continue on into the sunset and bed down when it gets too dark to hike. It’s important to me to be as comfortable as possible during the longer days and for the set up and pack down of camp to be easy and simple.

Ultralight works for me because it is about realising what I can and can’t live without. I’m not part of the cult mindset, I don’t live and die by the ounce, unless that ounce involves camp shoes (that is where we should all draw the line). I hike this way because it makes sense for me.

I may hike ultralight, but that doesn’t mean i’m a buzz kill about it:

All being said I was never and never will be a #UL ass. Carry what you want to carry, it’s your hike. If that means some big thick sleep socks to keep your feeties warm or a pillow to rest your tired filthy head on, then you go gurl and bring that shit. You are the one at the end of the day that carries it. If you really want it and feel like it will enhance your experience then bring it (especially if that thing you want to bring is Monopoly Deal, because we can all benefit from that yanno..).

So take a deep breath in and out, stop wasting so much time fretting over specs. Post your own Lighterpack list on r/ultralight for a slightly demoralizing virtual shake-down (and watch everyone tell you to leave everything at home except for two snickers bars and a Melanzana fleece), invest in a good sleeping bag / quilt and lets go…

Here is everything I now carry when I hike and what I think about it:

The Big Four

These will most likely be your heaviest items and the place you can shave the most weight from your pack if you are looking to upgrade.

Shelter:

My shelter in the desert – showing off it’s not bad pitch vs the drunk Hexamid in the background

Zpacks Hexamid Solo Plus

bought this secondhand from the backpackinglight.com forums. I had almost committed to a Tarptent Notch, but thankfully before I bought it someone listed the shelter of my dreams.

This tent is made of cuben fiber, the best of the best in the tent material world as of right now. It is light, waterproof, easy to dry and stays taught in the rain. The version I found was a 2011 model, with a clip in cuben bathtub floor. I have now swapped this out for a polycro ground sheet, but it worked great.

The Plus version of this shelter is made for super tall people. I am a woman of average height (and average personality hey-o!) so there is a ton of space for me to surround myself with all my stinky things. This tent doesn’t use specialised poles to hold it up and is not free-standing, which I never had an issue with, there was always ground space to pitch it. It uses a single trekking pole, which means I only carry the one.

This shelter brand new is pretty expensive. Try to buy it used if you can hunt it down. Apparently around 2011 was the golden era of Zpacks. I knew of a handful of people with new versions of this tent on trail and the quality of workmanship / attention to detail on some of the shelters seemed to have suffered, which is a shame as they are perfectly designed and I grew to love mine.

Verdict: KEEPING – Buy it second-hand if you can. It’s a great tent that dries fast and it is as light as a feather. Highly recommended.

Tip: Buy a nice light cuben shelter if you can afford it, if you can’t a silnylon tarp would be light too. The bug net inner sewn in was clutch. Mosquitos are hungry, try not to feed them and encourage their bad behaviour.

Sleeping Pad:

Thermarest Neoair Xlite

I have the regular version. It is way to long for me.

Before I bought it I had UL dreams of rocking the torso length pad. However my dreams were shattered as only the regular was in stock when I turned up to the REI in San Diego.

As it turns out this was actually a blessing in disguise. I found it really hard to sleep well on trail for at least half of it. Since I found my sleeping bag uncomfortable (more on that later) I think this full length version of this pad gave me the most comfort I could have had. I’m a side sleeper so a foam mat just doesn’t work for me and my woman hips.

I only managed one puncture during the trail. I am careless with my ground sweeping / selection when setting up camp and honestly I am also rough on all my gear. Don’t listen to people who try to scare you out of it by saying it’s too fragile. It is really not.

Verdict: CHANGING. I’ll buy the same again, but shorter – You and I will be pals forever Neoair (unless a lighter version of you comes out – then bye Felicia)

Tip: If you are a side sleeper, or have issues with foam pads, drop the cash for a Neoair. It is totally worth it for a comfortable night of sleep on trail. Also, as I know you were wondering, it floats and makes the perfect on trail lake floaty!

Sleeping Bag:

ZPacks 10 degree bag, regular width

Zpacks 10 degree bag and some rank looking socks in Steheikin

Ahhh this bag. It is light as a feather, soft, packs down tiny. All great things that I love in a bag. This bag was warm also (once I realised I needed to hold the bag length ways by the zip and shake vigorously to get the down back on top of me). I shivered almost the entire way through the Sierra before working out I needed to do this each night. Sometimes I am just a slow learner – a cold pissed off slow learner. In my opinion this bag is not true to temperature rating, but it is warm enough for the PCT. I definitely consider myself a cold sleeper. Most women sleep 10 degrees colder than most men – this bag was enough.

This bag has no hood, but trust me, you won’t miss it. Just size up in length so you can still tuck it over your ears. I also wear a beanie at night so i’m all blissed out when I fall asleep. I would recommend that if you only have one thing you can splash cash around on, that this be it. Your bag is most likely the one piece of gear you can save the most weight on.

One big downside to this bag is that it is VERY narrow. Sometimes, especially if I have been turning over a lot in the night, I feel twisted up and restricted in it. This bag just is not wide enough for me. I recommend going for a wider width than the regular.

Finally, when I picked up the bag at the Scout and Frodo’s the night before the trail I realised only a few nights later that the stitching at the bottom of the zip had been sewn incorrectly. The zip seam had snagged the bag and caused it to a tear a hole that I had to continually try to tape up for the rest of the trail. If I had sent it for repair I would be without a bag. I wish the quality control had been stronger from Zpacks, especially since this bag was not cheap.

I would love to try a quilt in the future. I think this will give me the wiggle room I want. I have my eyes on you Katabatic, but for now I will still just keep trying to make this work.

Verdict: KEEPING (But it is on its final warning) It’s expensive and I don’t rate it compared to the competition. It is incredibly soft to touch, super puffy at the end of a long day and the green colouring is pretty cute – so it has that going for it.

Tips: Get a sleeping bag that fits your needs that is as light as possible. I take this out of my pack as soon as I get into camp to give it some time to loft before bed.

Pack:

Living my best life with my filthy Hyperlight pack in Washington

Palante “Simple Pack” 35L

I went through too many packs on the PCT. I started with a ULA Ohm 2.0 (too bulky, strange fit, not comfortable – but great hip pockets).

I switched out the OHM in Wrightwood for a Hyperlite Windrider which was comfortable, water resistant and an all-around great pack, but I got a 55L capacity and it ended up being too big for my needs. There are a few downsides, the hip pockets are too small, it’s not completely waterproof and in Northern California the straps of the pack gave me the world’s worst armpit chafe (side note: duct tape does not stay on sweaty armpits / straps). I’m not sure if it’s your fault or my fault Windrider, but have you ever had chapped armpits? It’s not cute.

I stayed with the Hyperlite pack until Snoqualimie in Washington. I would have been happy to take it right to Canada, as this pack is a winner (even with its faults). However, John Z let me pilfer his pack collection while I was in Seattle. I switched out the HMG for what was essentially a prototype Palante pack that John used to finish the AT with and Andy (Handy Andy) had made. This pack finishes thru hikes. How can I stand in the way of tradition?

It had no hip belt, was only around 35L, was frameless and I was instantly hooked on this minimalist style.

Now I carry a 35L Palante Simple Pack and can honestly say it is the best pack I have ever used. It is outrageously comfortable, the bottom pocket has changed my life and I don’t miss the hip belt AT ALL. I have found no faults with it. It’s a pack for thru hikers designed by thru hikers. 

I’m excited to have such an intuitive pack with me when I jump back onto the PCT this year. Even though I consider the two guys behind Palante Packs pals, I still give my honest opinion about the pack when people ask me – it really is just that good.

Going frameless can seem daunting at first, but I didn’t even notice the difference. I fold up my Neoair and place it against my back inside the pack. Then I punch (multiple times / with great pleasure) the back panel until it is flat and off I go.

Verdict: KEEPING (Well until the 2.0 maybe) Fark yes. Get it.

Tip: Light backpacks don’t have to be expensive and they don’t have to be cuben. Just get something simple.

Clothing:

At the halfway marker in Northern California – I miss that stinky shirt so much

Clothing in my pack:

Ibex Merino Longsleeve Base Layer Top

I use this long sleeve top to sleep in and also to layer under my rain jacket when it’s cold. Since I didn’t carry a mid layer from South Lake Tahoe to Canada I used this top (combined with my rain jacket) to keep me warm from late June to my finish in late August. Merino is a great base layer, it’s light and almost completely non itchy (I’m one of those people who can’t have regular wool close to my skin).

Verdict: KEEPING – Merino fan till death.

Torpedo 7 Merino Base Layer Leggings

I had some sort of thrifted performance tights from the Sierra until Canada on the PCT, but they were uncomfortable and not particularly warm so I have replaced them with merino. They worked well when I was freezing my ass off in Nepal. For now i’m a fan. I have considered ditching these entirely and just going full dirty legs in sleeping bag. Another option is switching these for lightweight wind pants to save weight, but i’m not into clammy legs and I am basically a lizard who is as cold-blooded as heck. Someone please find me a rock I can sun myself on.

Verdict: KEEPING BUT, Might ditch ‘em until the Sierra. Merino base layers are just so comfy.

PCT Tip: I would start in the desert with a pair of leggings, then mail them forward to the Sierra if you really don’t need them for the cold desert nights. Being cold on trail is one of my least favourite sensations.

Frogg Toggs Driducks Rain Jacket / Size L / in Nuuuude

I LOVE this jacket I LOVE it I LOVE it. I love the way it is cheap / I love the way it breathes when I am sweaty / I love the way I only had the large to choose from so it is like a small tent on me / I love the way Star used to tell me on trail that I look just like her grandma when she goes walking. I could not recommend these jackets more. I almost bought the outdoor research jacket that everyone seems to have, but I wouldn’t even consider buying it now. Save your money and get this ugly wonder.

Verdict: KEEPING – Could be my favourite piece of gear. Get it and get it in nude, just like granny would.

Tip: They are REALLY oversized. Go WAY smaller than usual.

Icebreaker Merino Buff:

Oh my buff, it served so many functions: impromptu tissue, neck warmer, dirty feet cleaner, facecloth, washcloth. I also used it at night in the Sierra in my half lofted sleeping bag shivering away to cover my mouth and nose lest they fall off. You can go super luxe AF and put it around a stuff sack with all your extra things in it – like it’s a pillowcase on a pillow. You’ll be the envy of all those around you. It’s small and light and I don’t mind carrying it.

Verdict: KEEPING – Buffs are great, merino buffs are greatest?

Tip: If you don’t want to drop the cash on a merino buff – lightweight fleece buffs are cheap / light and so cosy looking.

Sleep Socks:

Yet to find these, but I will most likely go for a thin pair of merino socks. I wore Cheryl Strayed style thick merino socks at night last time, but i’m reconsidering my need for them this time around. That being said they were heaven after a long day of prune feet in the Sierra. I’m pretty sure the ability for my feet to breathe and dry out at night in them is a huge reason I didn’t get trench foot on trail. I’m a big fan.

Verdict: CHANGING – I have the cold feet of the dark lord. I love sleep socks, but probably overdid it last time.

Tip: Having a clean pair of socks to sleep in will make your feet so much happier, and give them room to breathe/ dry out / heal while you sleep.

Injinji run 2.0 toe socks:

Injinji toe socks are by far the most comfortable socks I have hiked in. They stop between the toe blisters, they are cheap, they are light and they dry fast. What more could I want?

I started off with Darn Tough socks at the beginning of the trail, they were thick and hot and I got blisters with them, but they did last a very long time without getting holes. I gave them away in Kennedy Meadows North to another hiker, because hikers have no standards and second-hand socks are just as wonderful (or possibly even more wonderful?) than a new pair.

Verdict: KEEPING – creepy toe socks of my comfy dreams.

Tip: It is safe to say I can thank these thinner socks for my lack of blisters.

Beanie:

Just a thrifted wool beanie that has most likely been made by a sweet older lady. It makes me look super dorky. I like to use my beanie to sleep in at night, so it needs to be tight on my head or i’ll wake up when it falls off and i’ll feel naked. Wouldn’t leave home without one to keep my ears covered, as I must have my ears covered to sleep. I don’t know. I don’t question it.

Verdict: KEEPING. Nothing else to say about it.

Tip: I would thrift this for sure, not worth spending a ton of money on one. Fleece beanies are lighter and dry faster than wool. They also make you look like a bit of a dickhead so….back to the drawing board?

Polypro Gloves:

Thin cheap lightweight polypro gloves are dead ugly but serve their purpose. Amazing on cold mornings when struggling to be able to open things with frozen hands. You could use a pair of socks if you were more UL than me – you stinky wonder.

Verdict: UNDECIDED. On second thought perhaps I am that #UL.

Tip: Another item you should avoid spending a ton on. Although the Sierra was covered in snow I only really used my gloves in the morning and at night, I was in just a shirt and shorts for most of the day.

Worn Clothing:

In the desert, in my (short lived) crisp white button down shirt, before I switched to a short sleeve dad shirt

Thrifted Cool Dad shirt

Ahhh I have finally found another cool dad shirt to replace my other (imperfect) cotton shirt. When plain cotton gets sweaty then dries it gets thick, stiff and crispy which is something a trail shirt should never be described as. So now I have a rayon / polyester blend and I’m back in trail shirt heaven. I have a small list of things I require for a trail shirt:

1. Not crispy

2. Button up

3. Short Sleeve

4. Sweet Cool Dad Pattern – something that says me and my hairy chest are on vacation and you can have a sip of my beer son.

5: Chest pocket (current one fails at this, but willing to let it slide this ONE time)

Gifted short shorts

Just like the toothbrush, the shorter the shorts the closer to god. I still use the pair that Star (a.k.a the greatest trail friend a person can ever have) gifted to me in a cheap hotel room in Ashland Oregon. They are navy, faded and they have many rips  / holes now. They are the purest form of memories that I have left of the trail. I will wear them until they disintegrate – update: just ripped the butt a little, but still wearing them, throwing caution to the wind – watch out world!

Random Sports Bra

I think I got it from Kmart. I think it was $15? I wore it the entire PCT and it’s still good. I have no boobs so it holds nothing but, the lost opportunities of puberty. Go bra go!

Cap

I have a few to choose from. They are faded / sun bleached but man do they hide my rat’s nest hair. I threw my trail hat out in my pal Fruitcup’s bin in Vancouver at the end of the trail. The hat that I had found in the dusty depths of an incredible thrift store in Tehachapi. I wish I could magic it out of there now. It was faded and the print had almost completely worn off, but it was mine and I loved it.

Thrift a hat if you can, it’s better for the nature, cheap and also you’ll probably get a cooler one.

Injinji toe socks x 1 pair

(see above )

Macpac Carbon Trekking Pole (just the one):

Found this in the hiker box. The tip is completely worn down. No mind.

Brooks Cascadia 11 Trail Runners (mens)

Oh the shoe I will forever love. While everyone else has seems to have switched to Altras I’m still rocking the old crowd favourite of the Brooks Cascadia. They last around 1000 miles, before they get tears up the sides, but I try to switch them out at around the 800 mile mark as that is when they start to get uncomfortable. I have wide feet, so I buy the mens version. A cheeky plus for having man feet is that the mens styles seem to come in better colours (like navy and orange wooo!). I can walk forever in these shoes, they have great support and i’ve had no issues hiking 15+ hour days in them.

I hear the 12s are even more comfy – I’ll switch to those once these get used right up.

Electronics:

Using my Sony rx100m3 on trail for important things – like mosquito bite documentation

Anker 10,000 mAh power bank: quick charge capable + Quick Charge plug and USB cord.

I carried a 12 mAh Ravpower power bank on trail from Washington onwards and the quick charge function on that has forever ruined me. It died somewhere in the back roads of Malaysia, while I was bike touring across South East Asia. New Zealand, as always has limited selection so I went for an old Anker power bank, which is more heavy than I would hope for it’s capacity (the new versions are feather light). It was a desperate last-minute decision.

Although there is a downside to quick charge, in having to carry a quick charge capable usb plug, I would not go without it now. My first power bank would take overnight to charge, this new one takes around 3 – 4 hours, which means you don’t need to stay the night in town and you can just do a quick in out instead.   

Verdict: KEEPING. Buy Anker or Ravpower.

Tip: Even with my USB rechargeable camera and heavy phone use (podcasts etc.) I never needed more than a 12 mAh power bank. So you can save some weight here.

Black Diamond Cosmo Headlamp + 3 AAA Batteries

ARGH – this headlamp. Will I ever get around to replacing it? I probably should go with a small LED key chain flashlight that I can hold. This headlamp lacks two important functions. The first being a lock so that it doesn’t turn on in my pack. I have to remove a battery each time to ensure it does not turn on itself and drain its own battery. The second is that it also lacks the ability to charge using usb. Boo.

Verdict: REPLACING. Don’t buy it. It’s heavy, ugly and a headache.

Tip: Get a USB rechargeable headlamp or a small keychain sized flashlight (much cheaper), AAA batteries are the devil.

Sony RX100 m3 Camera: w/ USB cord and separate small USB charger and 3 spare batteries.

Ahhh the RX100 series by Sony, a gift from the gods to hikers. This little point and shoot looking number really packs a punch. It may not look like much but the pictures (and especially) the video you can get out of this wee guy is totally worth the relatively small amount of weight. I really recommend this camera.

It has USB charging abilities, which means that it can be charged without an external charger (through the camera) AND it also means that you can charge it using a power bank. I use A LOT of batteries on trail, a combination of always snapping away and forgetting to turn the camera off. I also take a small (it’s tiny) separate usb charger that is only slightly bigger than one of the batteries. This way I can charge multiples at once.

Verdict: REPLACING: I will be upgrading to a bigger sensor (and bigger camera overall, because I miss some of the DOF and image quality stuff that larger sensors can do). If you love taking photos, but are conscious of weight, go for the rx100. The m3 is still going cheap second-hand.

iPhone 5S: w/ Lifeproof Case

I always get my iPhone’s second hand. Right now I’m the dark age with the 5s and it does what it does. I wish it had more space, but that’s probably my fault for always loading way too many photos/ songs / Instagram stories onto it. The Lifeproof case is amazing. I dropped my phone a million times and it stayed alive. The clear lens covers got super dirty/ cloudy / made my pictures look foggy, so I just used a pin to pop them out, which probably makes it not waterproof anymore – Oh well. I keep my phone in a ziplock anyway.

Verdict: UNDECIDED, I think it is starting to have battery problems – so I might have to track down a new phone.

Bose Sport Headphones:

I started the PCT with great headphones (gift from Jonny aw!), but after dropping them in a series of creeks too many times / not taking enough care with them, they fell apart (do you see the careless trend yet? I try I try!) I used crappy headphones until finally splashing out on this Bose pair.

They have the little changer button so you can change song on the go, grip into your ears, even when you are dripping with sweat and sound great. Happy happy happy!

Verdict: KEEPING. Love them.

Food Storage / Water System :

Star gathering water in Washington – we had all stopped filtering at this point

2x Smartwater bottles

I carry just one vitamin water bottle right now, because water sources on New Zealand hikes are everywhere / plentiful, but when I was on the PCT I always carried Smart Water bottles. They are narrow, so you can fit two in one side pocket for the long desert carries, but they also are inexpensive and easily replaced once the mouth gets a little mouldy (not that I ever let it get that far…… shh)

Verdict: KEEPING. Yes.

Sawyer Mini Water Filter

A MINI! YES I AM THAT UL! I joke – the Sawyer mini is universally hated by hikers. It’s slow, blocks easily and teases you with the amount of water it dribbles out eventually, but still it is my go to, it’s small and light and for the second half of the PCT I barely filtered at all anyway (oh hi Giardia roulette).

I ditched a filter altogether in Snoqualimie and drank in that beautiful fresh mountain water straight from the source. I was always careful with where I drank from. As you spend more time on the trail, you get a better feel for what could be a potentially dodgy water source. Never got the shits (well from water anyway….). I’m still an advocate for the mini, just screw it to the top of a Smartwater bottle and you can drink straight from it, no need to filter into a different bottle and waste time.

Verdict: KEEPING – You’ll hate it, you’ll love it, people will give you side eye, but it’s light and uses 0 chemicals so….. recommended?

Opsak / or / Freezer Ziplock

I carried an Opsak when I could. They are great, but they tear easily. I mostly went with big freezer ziplocks for most of the trail. They do similar things ie. keep the smells in and creatures out of your food. Now I carry freezer ziplocks, as I have never seen an Opsak available here. New Zealand is behind.

Verdict: KEEPING

Plastic Spoon

Usually pilfered from the deli sections at supermarkets. When I find a good spork it’s a good day. Inexpensive and light. Sometimes I go without one altogether as I don’t always eat meals on trails.  Sometimes I just resupply all hand food (aka snacks).

Verdict: KEEPING – if I stop cold soaking i’ll just get rid of it.

Toiletries:

Star loving brushing her teeth with the worlds tiniest toothbrush

Toothbrush (snapped off)

The shorter the handle the closer to god. Plus there is nothing like sticking your whole filthy hand in your mouth to reach the back couple of teeth. classy.

Small bottle of hand sanitiser

Don’t leave home without it, you walking germ infested weirdo

Chapstick

Get the good stuff with the sunscreen in it, your not-cracked lips will thank you

Small comb (snapped in half)

Might switch this out for some sort of tiny light brush, but I am yet to find one. My hair was a MESS on trail and I don’t mean that in a light way I mean ratty birds nest mess. Used to take me at least an hour to comb out in town.

Extra hair ties

That long hair life.

Small bottle of sunscreen

Did without sunscreen after the Sierra, but definitely should have worn it more, ozone layers and melanomas are real.

That’s it!

Napping in the desert/ gear explosion a.k.a what all your crap ends up looking like anyway

Whoa baby – and that my friends is everything I currently carry, minus a few items I still need to get and questions about gear with impossible answers like – should I carry my new camera that will add a pound or so to my base weight? Should I buy a watch if there is a clock on my phone? Does Smartwater actually make you smarter?

I think (apart from the few small changes I still need to make) this set up will be my go to set up for a long time to come. It seems daunting at first, trying to make a guess as to what will work for you, but it’s incredible how just a few months into your hike you realise what is and isn’t worth carrying. For some; everything they started with they carry until the end, but personally I always tried to evaluate what I truly still needed. It made life out on trail as simple as possible and that is all I ever wanted

Just a simple happy life beneath the trees.

Author: wilderbound

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  • I have been following you on instagram since I decided I will hike the pct in 2019. I love your instagram posts and I can’t wait follow your blog through your second Thru hike. Keep it coming you legend!!! 😎

    • AW thank you so much for the sweet comment. Ahh! you are hiking next year? How exciting – Nobo or Sobo?

      p.s love your sunglasses!

  • You funny! I really enjoyed reading that first blog post. It fed some of my PCT cravings until I hit the trail in 2020 (so long to go…). Till then the Scottish Highlands are my playground! Looking forward to reading more during your thru hike. Byeee!!! (the Trail Show reference made me laugh) x

    • Thank you! ha!

      I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      Oh I know what having to wait feels like – I get you. Trust me though, it comes around sooner than you think!

      Ah beautiful area, apparently Scotland looks a lot like my home here in NZ?

      Byyee!

  • What’s the name of the long sleeve layer you use? I can’t see it. That paired with the rain jacket I guess made your warmest combo?

    • Hi Steve,

      You’re right! I’ll have to add that – thank you for noticing.
      I use an Ibex Merino Baselayer. Yes! I ditched my mid layer, a synthetic puffy just after the Sierra. Then I used the base layer and my rain jacket to keep me warm. For camp i’d just wrap my sleeping bag around me or get in it.

      🙂

  • HI Ayesha,
    please, I would like to ask you about your Injinji run 2.0 toe socks?
    I cant find any socks named exactly “Injinji run 2.0” socks on http://www.injinji.com. Maybe they have a different name now. Can you please take a look at it and send me a link for that exactly socks what did you use? 🙂

    Thank you

    David

  • I’m guessing that your Zpacks Hexamid Solo Plus is the default 0.51 oz/sqyd DCF. How has this material held up? If there have been any issues, do you think the .74 oz/sqyd Spruce Green DCF might be worth the little added weight and packable size?

    • It has held up very well. To be honest I think most cuben shelters would last perfectly well for two thru hikes, but then you will start seeing wear after that. I think the key is to cowboy camp as much as possible and only set up a shelter if you really need it! I got this second hand with wear on it already and I was silly about keeping it from snagging on other things in my pack, so it got a few tiny holes etc. Having a little cuben stuff sack for it was a lifesaver!

  • Hey! I hiked the PCT in 2017 and am updating my gear for this season’s backpacking trips. I was thinking of pairing the Hexamid Tarp with a Sea to Summit mosquito net to save four or five ounces, my question is: is it worth it? Or is it better to have the bug net sewn in already?

    • What a gnarly year to hike! I personally would just get the bug net sewn in (for ease of set up) – but i’m lazy!